Category: our financial story
One year ago this week we were driving down to Kingwood, TX, for Jed’s ten year high school reunion. The photo above was taken at the reunion. Jed had been telling me about this guy Dave Ramsey who had a plan for our finances. We stayed with Jed’s brother Sam and his wife Michelle, who were on the plan. On the trip down we listened to “Debt Free Friday” on the Dave Ramsey radio show, and I cried every time one of the famillies screamed, “We’re debt free!”. Over the course of the weekend, with some major encouragement from Sam and Michelle, we decided to jump on board. We made a budget, joined the “Total Money Makeover“, and were on the road to financial freedom.
We cut up our credit cards and started using cash. We got serious about paying off our debts. In four months we paid off $13,000 worth of debt, and were totally debt free for the first time in our lives. Then we started saving up and emergency fund. You can read more about that here. We finished our emergency fund in May with 3 months of expenses saved in an account we don’t touch. In July we started Baby Step 4, investing in our retirement. We are also saving for our first house and for a baby.
I cannot believe that it has only been a year since we started this journey. I cannot express in words the freedom I feel. We don’t make very much, and don’t have much hope of salary increasing. I’m in full time ministry and Jed is a teacher. Even with our modest earnings, we have found financial peace.
Just so you know how we have struggled in the past, I’ll sum up a brief financial history of us for you. In college we both got credit cards in the student union for the free t-shirts. We both started off paying them off each month. Then I started using mine to travel, go to concerts, etc. Probably the worst thing I did was put 5 plane tickets to NYC on my card for my friends. When they paid me back I didn’t put they money towards the card. It took me 8 years to pay for that trip. I don’t know what Jed spent his money on, because we didn’t know each other then. He came out of college with a mountain of student loan debt plus his credit cards. I spent the next few years being consistently late with payments, dodging calls from creditors, and still spending. I bought a brand new car I couldn’t afford, only to have to sell it a year later for a $3000 loss. In 2003 I consolidated $15,000 of debt into a loan. I promptly began to run up more debt. In 2005 I consolidated all of my new debt, $12,000 worth. I paid all of my debts off by the summer of 2008. Jed brought into our marriage the $13,000 worth of debt that we paid off this year. Basically we were both not to be trusted with credit cards, and in a finacial mess. Now that mess is gone and we are free. I never have to worry about a creditor calling me again.
Do you budget? Tell me about your financial story.
Click below to make a quick budget for yourself.
i want to go back.
we spent a glorious week at the sandos playacar all-inclusive resort
outside of playa del carmen, mexico.
laura over at gringation cancun is always posting pics of these trees.
playa del carmen has now been added my list of favorite destinations.
here are a few others:
navarre beach, florida
charleston, south carolina
petit jean state park, morrilton, arkansas
what is your favorite vacation destination?
i’m linking to some great blog parties. check them out here.
yesterday we took another HUGE step towards financial freedom. we finished dave ramsey‘s baby step 3!!! this means that not only are we debt free, but we also have 3 months of expenses saved in an emergency fund. i cannot express to you how free this makes me feel. it took ten months for us to get through the first three baby steps, but it has been an awesome journey. we have taken control of our finances and are able to give more than ever before.
here’s the thing – i am TERRIBLE with money. when i left home for college, i made one bad financial decision after another. i maxed out 8 credit cards, bought a brand new car i couldn’t afford, and spent whatever i wanted. i consolidated all of my debts into a big loan and paid on it for several years. while i was paying it off i opened up new credit cards at gap, banana republic, old navy, and victoria’s secret, then got a new visa and discover card for good measure. i was basically a disaster. i was always later with my rent, trying to explain myself to roommates, and completely unable to get it together.
in early 2006, i felt really convicted and overwhelmed by the way i was dealing with money. i again consolidated my debt and cut up all of my credit cards. by the time i married jed in 2008, i was completely debt free. jed was a different story. he still had a few credit cards, a major loan from his parents, and the dreaded student loans. still, i thought we were doing ok. we were very frugal throughout the first year of our marriage, and never used credit cards. but, we still had all of that debt hanging over our heads.
last year we were introduced to dave ramsey’s ideas by jed’s brother, sam. he and his wife michelle had taken control of their finances using dave’s plans, and were eager to share the program with us. i fought it. big time. i did not want a budget. i did not want to sacrifice to pay off “his” debt, when i had already worked so hard to pay off mine. one fateful weekend we were driving to houston and happened to listen to dave’s radio show. it was a “debt free friday” with people calling in to scream, “we’re debt free!!!”. i was hooked. we started the program the next week, and the rest is history. we have found such freedom.
if you are drowning financially, or even just struggling a little, go check out dave. his ideas are not rocket science, just the common sense that we try to hide from as we run up our credit card bills. i am not receiving any kind of compensation for this post, just trying to share the wealth.
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